General Fiction posted February 15, 2021

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Christmas isn't always happy.

Twelve Days of Christmas

by Patty Palmer

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

On the first day of Christmas, my lover gives to me the same thing he gives me every year. NUTTIN'!

He and I have had the same conversation every damn year since we've been together. How hard is it to take my credit card, like he does every other day when wants something for himself?

I, however, bought the "Turd" a $200 pair of name-brand tennis shoes. He'd been hinting about how he really wanted a pair. Heaven forbid he wear the $150 Nikes that he had to have only three weeks ago. And why not, he wasn't the one who paid the bills.

On the second day of Christmas, my lover gives to me. Yeah, you guessed it, NUTTIN! This day he thought he was very justified for not giving me a gift. "Honey, you know how much it bothers me to give you a present that you had to pay for yourself."

Well. I told the Turd in plain words, "Don't give me your happy horse shit. You could pay for my present yourself. It's called, Get a freakin' job!"

With that, I left the room throwing a wrapped box in his direction. Opening it quickly finding the most recent video game he had mentioned, he yelled to my back, "Wow! Thanks, Babe!" Then without another word, he headed off to the game room to enjoy his present.

On the third day of Christmas, my lover gives to me a half bottle of some very strong-smelling perfume. At least, I think that was what it was. One whiff and it about knocked me over. I immediately started wheezing. Grabbing my asthma inhaler and my purse out the door I went headed to the hospital before I stopped breathing. Luckily the Turd had enough smarts to realize what was going on and grabbed the car keys.

After being whisked into the Emergency Room, hooked up to an IV with antibiotics running, hooked up to oxygen, and two breathing treatments under my belt, I was starting to breathe easier.

I couldn't believe the first words out of the Turd's mouth was him asking me if I had gotten him a present for today. I looked at him like he had three heads. If looks could kill, he would have died on the spot. The only reason that I didn't wish him dead was that we were in a hospital with doctors and nurses everywhere. Someone surely would have stepped in to save his life. I wonder if your spouse dies from you giving him one of those 'if looks could kill' looks, could you be arrested and sent to prison. I found that thought totally hysterically funny and I burst out laughing. The Turd smiled at me thinking I wasn't angry anymore. I decided to let him have this one since I really was too tired from the asthma attack and didn't want to get my wheezing started up again.

"What kind of perfume was that you gave me? It almost killed me and it would have if I hadn't reacted that fast and you got to the hospital quickly. That was a close call. Thanks, Carl, I thank you from the bottom of my heart." That surprised me that I actually meant it.

"So where did you buy the perfume? Maybe they would be understanding and let you return it."

"Nah, it's okay. I'll give it to my Mom. She loves that stuff"
Suddenly, my pleasant mood was gone! Now, I knew where the Turd had gotten the perfume for my present. He had taken the half-used bottle of perfume right off of his mother's dresser in her bedroom. Now I remembered his mother wearing it one day and I'd ended up in the Emergency Room that day too.

The Turd must have noticed the change in my mood. He must have figured out that I knew where the present came from that he'd given me. He looked rather ashamed, as well as he should be!

"I'm going out to the car for a smoke. If you need me call me on my cell phone." With that, he walked out of the room without looking back. He looked so dejected, but I was too mad to even care.

The doctor came In to check how I was doing. He wasn't pleased and insisted that I spend the night in the hospital for observation. I called the Turd who was out in the car to let him know that I had to stay. I thought it wasn't a bad idea to stay and get away from him for an entire day. I remember thinking to myself how sad that our marriage had come to this that I would be excited to be sick and enjoying the chance to stay there just to get away from him. Why does love only last for a little while and when the love's gone you're left with another hundred years with someone you despise. I actually started to tear up as I thought of the rest of my life being like this.

The night passed without any problems. I watched the television shows that I liked to watch without interruption. No one talking to me when I'm trying to hear the show. The food was delicious! Now that was just plain sad that the food would be such an attractive incentive to stay.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my lover gives to me...... NUTTIN. After all these years of no presents, I realized that it didn't make a difference one way or the other.

With a smile on my face, I happily danced around the kitchen making breakfast. He stopped at the doorway as though testing the water, before walking through the door.

"Come on in, Carl, the water's fine. Sit down, breakfast is almost ready. We're having western omelets with extra cheese, just as you like it. Crispy bacon and pancakes. Here's your freshly squeezed orange juice nicely chilled. And freshly brewed coffee. Smells good in here. Eat up!"

We actually sat and ate a nice meal together. Of course, I didn't ask if he had gotten me anything. I knew the answer would be the usual, NUTTIN'. But I didn't seem to mind. I gave him a new book by his favorite author that had just come out. He accepted it happily and went to relax while I cleaned up the kitchen.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my lover gives to me, NUTTIN'!
Surprise, Surprise! I gave him a new tennis racket, which of course, he loved.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my lover gives to me, NUTTIN'! Looks like we have a streak going here! I gave him a couple of CDs that he enjoyed. Thanking me profoundly, he lowered his head and quietly apologize to me. I told him not to worry about it, I was fine.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my lover gives to me a half-eaten box of my favorite chocolates and then he ate the other half. I gave him a new set of golf clubs in a brand new golf bag.

And he gave to me, NUTTIN'! But. I bet it would have wrapped brightly with a beautiful pink bow.

Now came the ninth day of Christmas my lover gave to me a nine-karat diamond necklace, which I went out and bought for myself. I love the way it shines. To him, I gave an empty box. It fit him very nicely.

The tenth day of Christmas my lover gives to me a brand new sports car and I look beautiful behind the wheel, He looks spiffy on his new bicycle.

Came the eleventh day of Christmas my lover gives me a Rolex wristwatch. Ya see where this is heading don't ya? I started buying my own presents. No disappointment now over presents when I'm buying them for myself. This way I always get exactly what I want and if it's clothing, I always get the right size. And Turd didn't realize what was going on. He thought I had just given up on him ever buying me presents. Well, he was partly right I was very happy to go out and buy myself whatever I had a fancy for. Even if he did start buying me presents, it would still be me paying for my own gifts. When the twelfth day of Christmas came, I was ready, willing, and able to face him.

On the twelfth day of Christmas when he got of bed, he snuck quietly down the back stairs thinking he would surprise her. He was excited because he'd been doing jobs around the neighborhood. He'd worked his fingers to the bone for the past four months in order to buy her the most beautiful diamond and ruby ring. Ruby was birthstone. She was always looking at ruby and diamond jewelry whenever they were near any jewelry stores. He would always be preoccupied when she would point the beautiful pieces she would point out to him because there were a beautiful ruby and diamond she had been pining for. He had snuck back that very afternoon and put it in lay-away. Each day when he would do a job for someone when they paid him he would take what he was paid and put it down on the balance of the ring.

He had felt bad each time he didn't have a present for her on the twelve days of Christmas. Each day she would be angry that he hadn't thought enough to have something for her like she planned thoughtful gifts for her. She seemed to take it personally as though he didn't love her anymore. But that couldn't be any further from the truth. He loved her just as much as the first day he laid eyes on her. He was hooked and if it could be possible, he loved her more today than that first day they met.

The one day over these holidays when she had gotten angry and told him p get a freakin job, he'd wanted to tell her the good news then that Mr. McGarvy who owned a farm down the road had offered him a full-time job starting the first of the year. The job even came with full benefits. They'd be able to buy the house they'd always dreamed of. Yeh, her family had money and when they married, time kind of slipped away, but now even his pride was at low tide. He needed to, no wanted to take care of his wife and maybe even start a family.

Carl held the small gaily wrapped present behind his back as he came down the stairs. He didn't want her to see it until the time was right. Peeking around the corner, he didn't see anyone around. Come to think of it he didn't hear any sound at all.

Walking right into the kitchen, not hiding anymore because now he was worried about where she might be and he prayed she wasn't hurt somewhere.

That's when he spotted a flat box wrapped with Santa Claus wrapping paper on the kitchen table with his name on it. Unwrapping the box he found a long manilla envelope with his name on it. The return address was from Frampton and Son, Esq. Carl realized it was from a legal firm. OMG! He let out in anguish. They were divorce papers! He'd been served! He stood there in the middle of the kitchen crying like a babe. The note said: Carl, I can't take it anymore. Love seems to have lost its way in our marriage. Please don't be here when I get home.

Carl had no idea how long he stood there in the kitchen with his robe hanging open and in his bare feet. He felt chilled to the bone but sweating as if he were in a sauna.

Suddenly. He felt like a crazy person. He felt trapped inside the house. He reallhy had no other place to be. So he took a shower, dressed in would have normally worn for Christmas. It made him think of the saying "All dressed up and nowhere to go,"

Wandering around the house made him feel sick. All the memories that they had made together in these rooms. He could remember laughter when their love was new and exciting. He also remembered tears and sadness. The day they held each other and cried until they couldn't cry anymore because she had miscarried and they lost the precious gift the Lord had given them, only to have it taken away in an instant. They had closed the door to the nursery that was almost completed and hadn't even looked inside again since that day. He wondered how he would be able to leave these memories here in this house and leave and not come back. He decided to wait for her to come home so they could talk. He could feel the little ring box in his pocket. He would give it to her anyway.

Figuring he had to eat something, he made himself busy stuffing the small turkey they had bought for Christmas dinner. After stuffing the turkey he took the pies out of the refrigerator and put them in the oven to bake. The aroma was making him hungry and the cooking was keeping his mind occupied so he couldn't think. He made a gourmet tossed salad using almost every vegetable in the fridge. He mixed up oil and vinegar and everything he could find and invented a new salad dressing.

While he was waiting on the turkey to cook, he turned on the television and flipped through the channels. Nothing was on except Christmas movies with families depicted as happy and loving on every channel. He watched a bit of Christmas Story about the kid who wanted a B B gun and everyone told him that he'd shoot his eye out with it. He watched Santa Claus and the Land of Misfit toys. Of course, what would Christmas be without National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. He watched the shows, enjoyed the fire in the fireplace and the comfort of the colorful Christmas tree.

The turkey was done and the pies had been cooling. It was then I saw her car lights as she pulled in the driveway. Now he was nervous, He didn't know if there was going to be a fight or if she'd just quietly go and leave his key on the kitchen table.

When I pulled in the driveway, I noticed that the lights were all on and I could see the reflection of the television through the window pane. I decided that I had no fight in me and maybe we can talk about it tomorrow.

I opened the door entering through the living room and noticed presents under the Christmas tree. Something didn't seem right because we never put presents under the tree.

I smelled the food cooking and the dining room table was set with our holiday Christmas dishes. Candles on the table set the festive mood. The food was on the table ready to sit down and eat. All of this Carl had done all on his own. I admit I swiped away a tear before he could see it.
"Merry Christmas, my beautiful darling wife" he said to her as he pulled out her chair for her to sit down. "Let's eat! I'm starving!

Sitting there together with Carl, enjoying and I really mean enjoying our dinner was comfortable and familiar, like old times. It felt the way a loving relationship was supposed to feel.

After dinner, we took our pie and coffee into the living room. Carl bent over and pulled a couple of presents from under the tree. One held a beautiful set of lounge pajamas, another a fleecy robe to match the pajamas, and slippers to wear with them.

"How and when did you do all of this shopping? Not only that but how did you pay for it?"

"I've been working for the past several months here and there around the neighborhood. I made some decent money believe it or not. Mr. McGarvy offered me a full-time job starting the first of the year. with benefits. There are benefits because his farm is actually owned by a company."

"I also have another present for you. Close your eyes and give me your hand,"

He slips something on my finger. I open my eyes and see the most beautiful ruby diamond ring I've ever seen in my life!

"OMG! This is about the most wonderful Christmas ever!"

"A full-time job with benefits! That's great, Carl because I didn't know how to tell you this, but, I'm pregnant!"

"What about those divorce papers you left on the table for this morning?"

I hugged this man that I now believe still loves me. And I know how much love I still feel for him, I kissed him deeply then said, "What papers? I don't remember anything about no papers"

We laughed while wishing each other a Merry Christmas over and over again.

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© Copyright 2021. Patty Palmer All rights reserved.
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